U.S. Cellular, the country’s fifth largest wireless carrier on Thursday joined the recent wireless trend of raising prices and adding data with a new set of Shared Connect plans.
Like competitors Verizon and AT&T, U.S. Cellular’s new plans offer more data at a slightly higher cost, with particular value offered in its higher-tier data plans.
U.S. Cellular’s new options include 2 GB of data for $30 per month, 4 GB for $45 per month, 8 GB for $60 per month, 16 GB for $80 per month and 24 GB for $100 per month, all with unlimited talk and text. The carrier’s plans formerly included tiers of 1GB, 3 GB, 6 GB, 12 GB and 15 GB of data for $25 to $90 per month.
The carrier also said it was adding free unlimited calling and texting to Canada and Mexico to customers on the 16 GB plan or higher, as well as data usage controls to allot a certain amount of shared data on each line on those plans. Both services are available on lower-tier plans for $10 and $4.99 per month, respectively.
“These new plans are easy to understand, giving our customers the flexibility to choose the right one for them, knowing they’ll be using their device on a high-quality 4G LTE network that keeps them connected nationwide,” U.S. Cellular’s Vice President of Marketing Joe Settimi said in a statement.
U.S. Cellular’s new plan tiers mirror those offered by Verizon in its own recent plan refresh, but come in at $5 cheaper on the low end and $10 cheaper on the high end.
The changes mark the fifth major plan revamp in two months, with one each coming from the country’s top five wireless carriers.
Verizon led the charge in July when it raised both its prices and the amount of data included in each plan. According to calculations from Wells Fargo Senior Analyst Jennifer Fritzsche, Verizon’s changes dropped the price of data from $30 per GB to $18 per GB on its low end plans and from $6 per GB to $5 per GB on its higher end plans. The carrier also added new rollover data and data overage safety mode features.
AT&T followed suit little more than a week ago, when it too raised prices and bumped up data. AT&T’s new structure offers 1 GB, 3GB, 6 GB, 10 GB, 16 GB, 25 GB and 30 GB tiers at a cost of 430 to $135 per month. Fritzsche said the biggest price dip for AT&T was on its 30 GB plan, which dropped from $7.50 per GB to $4.50 per GB.
AT&T’s new plans all now include rollover data; 10 GB and above plans also get unlimited talk and text to Mexico and Canada as well as Mexico roaming at no cost.
At the end of last week, both T-Mobile and Sprint came out with refreshed unlimited offerings, with T-Mobile doing away with data tiers in favor of a single $70 per month offering and Sprint opting to retain its options with the addition of a $60 unlimited offering.